Schools lacking high-speed Internet bandwidth, infrastructure
Only five school districts across the state are technologically ready to begin online testing of their students as part of the Common Core Curriculum being implemented statewide. Despite Lafayette’s publicly run fiber network available through LUSFiber, the Lafayette Parish School System didn’t make the technological cut.
A press release from DOE details the “Technology Footprint” report, offering a glance at the network, bandwidth and device requirements for implementing online testing by the 2014-2015 school year. Ascension Parish, the city of Bogalusa, St. James Parish, Red River Parish and FirstLine Schools in New Orleans are the only school districts found to have the needed devices. Ascension and St. James are the only two that meet both the device and network readiness guidelines:
The report provides districts with an initial footprint picture of network, bandwidth and device requirements needed to fully implement online assessments in 2014-2015 and full digital readiness afterward. Districts will receive a customized report and be able to see where they stand compared to the footprint picture, learn the extent to which their schools are digital-ready, and learn how to budget for upcoming technology investments.
Data and technology specifications received to date indicate school campuses in Louisiana have 197,898 devices available for online testing but only 67,038 meet new device standards. In order to meet 2014-15 testing guidelines, districts will need to purchase or upgrade computers and other devices already owned by districts that don’t currently meet the minimum hardware specifications.
Districts will continue to submit data throughout the next two years as they implement new or upgrade current technology within their district. The state will then release bi-annual updated footprint snapshots for districts to track their progress in meeting the 2014-15 online testing requirements.
Although these numbers show what schools will need for online testing, they do not address the technology needed for new instructional models and teaching methods in schools. To assist school systems in determining the computers needed to support these models, the Department of Education recommends a minimum student to computer ratio of 7:1 for online testing, 5:1 for a minimum classroom learning environment, and 1:1 for an optimal classroom learning environment.
Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Pat Cooper could not be immediately reached for comment Monday morning.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.